A lack of leaders at Chelsea is a key reason behind the Blues’ sluggish start to the Premier League season.
Last year’s champions have started the campaign in woeful form, and will host Norwich City on Saturday aiming to put some distance between themselves and the relegation positions.
The blame has all been placed firmly at Jose Mourinho’s door and, though the Portuguese’s methods are a proven recipe for success, his decision to allow the likes of Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and Petr Cech to leave in recent seasons is the main factor behind their current plight.
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During Mourinho’s first spell at the club, he was fortunate to be surrounded by big dressing room influences, who in turn acted as his voice on the pitch.
John Terry was his captain, as he is now, but Lampard, Drogba and Cech were all characters driven by the motivation to succeed and turn the club into one of the best in the Premier League.
Memorable occasions such as the 4-2 victories over Barcelona and Bayern Munich in 2004 and 2005 highlighted their qualities, with Terry notching the winner against the former and Lampard and Drogba on the scoresheet against the Bundesliga giants.
Cech’s finest hour came in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich, where he saved an Arjen Robben penalty in normal time before saving a Bastian Schweinsteiger spot-kick in the shoot-out. Drogba and Lampard then converted their penalties to deliver the Blues’ maiden European crown.
Shortage of spirit
Mourinho’s decisions to let all of them besides Terry depart has played a key role in his team’s dreadful start to the season.
Branislav Ivanovic is the side’s vice-captain, having been at Stamford Bridge since 2007, but the nature of the Serbian’s performances hint that he is struggling to cope with the burden entrusted to him in the summer.
Drogba was always bound to depart, having returned last summer, yet his presence for another year would have been welcome given the lacklustre performances of Diego Costa, Radamel Falcao and Loic Remy.
Lampard signed for New York City but ultimately spent last season on loan back in England with Manchester City, and though Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic were in sublime form, the absence of the 37-year-old is hurting them over a year on from his farewell.
Cech’s exit to Arsenal in the summer came as a surprise to many due to his loyalty to the Blues’ cause, but the loss of their stalwart has left Terry alone as the one, leading force in the Chelsea dressing room.